Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Who Knew Butter Could Be Art?

Butter sculptures at The Big E are like peanut butter to jelly. Although the butter sculpture was only made an annual tradition in 1996, the popularity of this attraction makes it difficult to recall a time when butter art was not part of New England’s Grandest Fair.

The sculptors behind the extraordinary, 17 year butter montage are Jim Victor and Marie Pelton. The team creates original food sculptures across the United States at state fairs, corporate events and even for private clients. While their primary medium at The Big E is butter, they have used a wide array of edible items in their other work. 

75th Anniversary Butter Cow
Now, before New England’s Grandest Fair even existed, Eastern States Exposition hosted the National Dairy Show in 1916. One of the attractions – a life-sized butter cow.

When the time came for The Big E’s 75th anniversary celebration in 1996, the administration began envisioning something special to mark the occasion. A decision was made to recreate the 1916 cow made entirely out of butter. Jim Victor was hired for the job, which became a smash hit among fairgoers of all ages. Marie Pelton joined the team in 2001.

The butter sculpture starts out as a theme or topic and over the first week and a half of the Fair, it is brought to life. Being an avid fairgoer, seeing the butter sculpture each year was a treat. It is always cool to watch the creation take shape and take guesses on what it would be.  

Each year, hundreds of pounds of butter are plastered on wire frames to create the scene. In fact, over 600 pounds of butter, donated by Agrimark/Cabot Creamery, are used for each design. During the Fair, the work all takes place in a specially designed cooler located under the Mallary Rotunda.

"Grown in New England"
2013 Butter Sculpture
Over the past nearly two decades, we have seen Dr. Seuss’ “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?” memorialized in butter, a daredevil cow on a motorcycle and even a scene from Norman Rockwell’s “The County Agent.”

This year’s butter sculpture followed the theme, “Grown in New England,” sponsored by the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board. It featured a farmer with specialties from each New England State – cheese, lobster, wine, trees, milk, ice cream and bees.  

Don't miss out on seeing The Big E's most unique attraction next year! 
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